Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
The psychosocial century
Academic Year
Semester 2
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Coursework essay  2500 Words  50%
Semester Assessment End of module assessment  1500 Words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Coursework essay  2500 Words  50%
Supplementary Assessment End of module assessment  1500 Words  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate an understanding of developments in the psychological sciences across the course of the twentieth century.

Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between psychological sciences and governmentality.

Demonstrate an understanding of how psychological ideas and theories shaped specific sites, institutions and social spaces.

Demonstrate an appreciation of how ideas affect change at different scales, including bodies, institutions, cities and nations.

Demonstrate the ability of conceptualise case studies in broader historical and social context.

Brief description

The module traces the development of psychological thinking over the course of the twentieth century and examines its impact and influence on sites, spaces, institutions and forms of governance. Beginning with the transition from philosophical and spiritual concepts of the soul during the late nineteenth century to scientific and medical concepts of the mind and brain developed by modern psycho-neurological disciplines, students will examine the ideas, spatial applications and political implications of psychological thinking. We will explore various sites, including schools, playgrounds, parks, hospitals, factories and offices, at various scales, including bodies, buildings, and cities. Case studies will be drawn from across the course of the twentieth century, enabling a close examination of how shifts in psychological thinking informed changes in design and governance across a range of social spaces. Drawing on both sociological and geographical theories of subject formation, the module builds on theoretical foundations developed in GS14220 Place and Identity; GS16120 Key Concepts in Sociology; GS22920 Placing Culture; and GS25020 Introduction to Social Theory.


Governmentality, psychology and self-government: the psychologising of the self
Nineteenth century transformations: from soul to psyche
The science of behaviour and behaviourism
Psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and the rise of therapeutic culture
Neuropolitics and governing through the brain
Leisure: parks, playgrounds and therapeutic nature
Educating emotions and schooling the self
Health and design: care to cure
Managing the professional self: the application of psychology in workplace management

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Co-ordinating with others Students will be expected to work in small groups during seminar discussion. This will require negotiating differing positions and perspectives, making decisions about priority topics and themes, and coordinating the feedback to others.
Critical and analytical thinking Students will be expected to read and synthesise a range of critical academic material including theoretical writing and emprical case studies. Students will be invited to practice critical thinking and analytic skills in seminar discussion and in written work.
Digital capability Students will be expected to engage with digital access to electronic reading material and navigate Blackboard and Turnitin in order to access module material, review lecture material and submit assessed work. They will be expected to use judgment and prudence in searching electronic material for further resources. Standard word processing skills will be required for preparing assessed work.
Professional communication Students will be expected to communicate with staff and peers in a collegiate and professional manner, both in written and in classroom communications.
Reflection Students will be required to reflect on their understanding of lecture content and supplementary reading in order to participate in seminar discussion and produce written assessments. Students will also be expected to reflect on feedback from assignment 1 in order to improve and refine their work for assignment 2.


This module is at CQFW Level 6